Cervical cancer screening in developing countries
Report of a WHO consultation
This publication is the product of a comprehensive consultation undertaken by WHO in 2001, involving leading experts in the field of cancer epidemiology, screening and treatment. It is part of WHO's commitment to provide evidence-based guidelines to decision makers and a recognition of the priority that should be given to cervical cancer screening and treatment as an essential component of any comprehensive national cancer control programme.
The report focuses particularly on the situation in low and middle income countries - countries in which cervical cytology screening may not be feasible or cost effective. It documents the current state of evidence concerning alternative tests - Visual inspection with Acetic acid (VIA) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) testing. It reviews trials that are currently being undertaken, and gives policy makers an indication of developments that are likely to emerge in the near future. However, it also emphasizes that the efficient and effective functioning of the system in its entirety is central to the success of any screening programme, irrespective of the screening method chosen.